Town ban relaxed as breach of rights

Richard Bentham leaving Cardiff Crown Court (8552743)

Richard Bentham leaving Cardiff Crown Court (8552743)

First published in News

THE human rights of a young golfer who killed a university lecturer in a car crash were violated when he was banned from his home town, a High Court judge has ruled.

Richard Bentham, 23, killed 67-year-old Dr Graham Howells when he ploughed into his camper van on the A449 near Usk, in October 2011.

Bentham was jailed for three years for causing death by dangerous driving and hit with a ban on his release from entering his home town of Monmouth.

But yesterday, after a challenge in the High Court, Bentham secured a ruling from Mr Justice Wyn Williams that his complete exile from the town was a breach of his human rights.

The judge said the ban excluded Bentham from going to the home where he had lived with his family, in The Vineyard, since he was about 10-years-old.

He said: "I consider that the exclusion zone imposed upon the claimant is an unjustified interference with his right to respect for his private and family life," he said.

The court heard Bentham was banned from entering Monmouth when he was released from prison on licence earlier this year.

A family member of his victim said the prospect of running into him in Monmouth was an "unbearable" thought.

But lawyers for Bentham, an aspiring professional golfer, said the exclusion had a serious impact on his mother and grandparents, who all live at the family home.

His grandparents are in frail health, while his mother suffered an accident earlier this year which has impacted on her mobility.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Williams said he was convinced Bentham would not have objected to the exclusion zone had it not been for the effect on his family.

He said the member of Dr Howells' family in Monmouth lives on the opposite side of the town, making a chance meeting improbable if Bentham is only allowed to go home.

"I have reached the clear conclusion that the prospects of a chance encounter between Bentham and the victim's family are non-existent, provided he is prevented from entering Monmouth town centre and its immediate environs and provided that he travels to and from his family home by motor car," said the judge.

"In my judgment, the blanket exclusion from his family home is not necessary to prevent a chance encounter between Bentham and the victim's family.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that the presence of Bentham in his family home during his period of licence causes great upset to the victim's family.”

"That said, it is not entirely easy to understand why that should be.

"As I have found, and as Bentham himself has consistently maintained, his reason for wanting to be in the family home is to assist his mother to care for his grandparents.

"There is no proper basis to conclude other than he means what he says."

Comments (1)

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7:15pm Thu 24 Jul 14

taffygwent says...

He should hang his head in shame all he's interested in is what he wants never mind anyone else.
He should hang his head in shame all he's interested in is what he wants never mind anyone else. taffygwent
  • Score: 2

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